Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smashed box office records over the weekend, and while we wait for the dust to settle to see just how successful it will become, Zack Snyder has been opening up about a few key moments in the film. The divisive superhero epic offered a few cameos and surprises (and one very surprising cameo), including an ending that left some audience members shocked. It’s that particular plot development that Snyder addresses in his latest interview, which sheds some light on his future Justice League plans. Spoilers ahead! 

There are a few surprising deaths in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, though none more major than the death of Superman himself. (Okay, Jimmy Olsen was a bit more shocking, and Snyder’s explanation for that one is pretty nuts.) Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent / Superman valiantly sacrifices his life to defeat Doomsday during the film’s climax, and it’s that death — along with a warning from Lex Luthor — that inspires Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne to form the Justice League.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Snyder explains why he decided to kill Superman, a plot point borrowed from The Death of Superman comic book arc:

I felt it was inevitable. Even when we were working on Man of Steel, I was like, Gosh, what are we going to do with this guy? He’s a pretty tough cookie. He’s so mythic. Superman takes cosmic shifts to get him to move emotionally [and] that reinforces his mythic nature.

Obviously, Superman isn’t going to stay dead. We’ve known for quite some time that he’s a part of Snyder’s Justice League, but just in case you were worried, the final (very brief) shot of Batman v Superman shows dirt lifting off the top of his coffin. Snyder says he almost didn’t include that moment, but wanted to give fans some hope — which was much-needed after 150 minutes of seriousness:

I went back and forth with it, to be honest. I do feel like it offers a teeny bit of hope for those people who need it. I feel like it’s obvious that we have to figure out a way to get him back, but I don’t know that everyone [knows that]. So I just wanted to give them that little jolt out of the theater, where they’re like, ‘Oh shit! What’s going to happen?’

From there, Bruce Wayne asks for Diana Prince’s help in recruiting the other “meta-humans” (Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg) to form an alliance of heroes. It’s a big moment for the character, who spends much of the film as a xenophobic vigilante determined to destroy Superman based on the one-percent chance that he could use his super-powers for evil.

Snyder says it was important for Bruce to be the one who recruits the Justice League, and Superman’s death was the perfect catalyst.

It’s unclear how Snyder will revive Superman, and it’s quite possible that when the fallen hero returns he might not be so super. Snyder has said that Justice League will further explore the mythology of Doomsday, and while that could mean a number of things, it also gives off the impression that we’ll see a darker side of Superman given his Kryptonian connections to the super-villain.

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